To the Editor:

In the reporting of the last Madisonville City Council meeting, the article stated that "Firmly in favor of the amended ordinance are Townsend and council members Misty Cavanaugh and Frank Stevenson." I would like to correct this reporting and clarify my position with respect to the proposed ordinance amendment. With regard to the proposed amendment to the current ordinances relating to alcohol sales in the city, it is correct that I am intending to vote in favor. Yet to style my yes vote as "firmly in favor of the amended ordinance" is to misrepresent my sentiments.

When this matter of expanding the hours of alcohol sales in the city was first proposed, the amendment was to have no differentiation as to days of the week for the sale of alcoholic beverages, with package liquor and malt beverage sales allowed from 6 a.m. to midnight every day of the week. For such a change I could not give my support. For many, including myself, there importantly should be some break in the weekly cycle, a change of pace to mark the passing of another line on the calendar we call a week. For many of faith (myself included), it is the principle of a Sabbath rest, sought to be preserved in some evident symbolic way in our society. It is noteworthy that many secular businesses have altered schedules for Sunday, with reduced hours of operation, businesses that have no particular religious or faith principles or commitments that drive that decision. Even the simple concept of "the weekend" recognizes the value and importance a marked change of pace in the course of the week.

My suggestion in this matter was to propose a compromise settlement, namely to amend the ordinance to allow package liquor and malt beverage sales during the same reduced hours that have existed since 2011 for restaurants otherwise licensed to serve alcoholic beverages by the drink. Those hours have been from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays. The current proposed amendment varies slightly from that, seeking to allow such sales from noon to midnight on Sundays.

It is this current proposed amendment to the existing ordinance for which I am prepared to vote yes on second reading. This support is not what would be accurately described as "firmly in favor." I would not, and did not, initiate or sponsor this amendment. My yes vote is a negotiated position that seeks to respect in a balanced way the competing interests involved, in the face of what appeared at first to be a move that would disregard the sensitivities of a substantial segment of our community, of my constituency, with respect to the place of Sunday in the conduct of daily and weekly life. "Firmly in favor" implies a vigorous and enthusiastic support, while my "aye" vote is clearly with conflicted acceptance.

Thank you.

Franklin Stevenson


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